Complying with new regulations, recently put forward by the Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) working group, could have a significant impact on the workload of the typical letting agent.
Roby.ai, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) assistant, says agencies need to consider how they can factor in the additional responsibilities alongside their existing obligations and the needs of their business.
The proposed regulations include a new industry regulator, stricter licensing, a Code of Practice and mandatory qualifications.
“These new requirements will benefit the industry in the long-term, discouraging rogue operators and contributing towards raising the public perception of agents,” says Tom Reiss, CEO and co-founder of Roby.ai.
“In the short-term, however, there will be additional work involved and some agents will feel under pressure to comply in time, not to mention some of the additional costs involved.”
How can agents utilise automation to comply with regulation?
Roby.ai says agents can use automation to save time on administration and subsequently spend less time on existing compliance obligations.
This, in turn, will allow them to dedicate more time to the new regulatory framework being set out by RoPA as well as improving customer service and targeting new landlord business.
“So many parts of the lettings process can now be automated, taking no time at all. This reduces the number of repetitive tasks staff have to carry out and the scope for human error at the same time,” Reiss explains.
“Automation can help agencies to save time and focus on complying with the new regulations without compromising on customer experience or business growth,” he says.
Crucially, tools like Roby.ai – which automates many parts of the rental process for letting agents – can carry out deposit registration in just 20 seconds, instead of taking 25-30 minutes of an agent’s day.
Meanwhile, holding and security deposits can be submitted and paid automatically through Open Banking, saving time while remaining compliant with the requirements of the Tenant Fees Act.
Roby.ai also sets up the rental payment structure for each tenancy and automatically issues all correct and up-to-date documents to the relevant parties.
“Letting agents no longer need to spend time doing these tasks, many of which they can no longer charge for due to the tenant fees ban,” adds Reiss.
“Using AI to automate large parts of the lettings process can help agents to stay on top of day-to-day business, prepare to comply with the new regulations and stay up-to-date with existing legislation.